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Labyrinth: Letting Our Own Lights Shine

“Let your own light shine on the darkest days. For our lights will shine brighter. Together.”

I have read a lot about labyrinth walks, more in the mystical sense. Thich Nhat Hanh talks frequently about walking meditation and he mentions the word labyrinth a myriad of times. But, I have never walked one myself. Besides the fact that I can never remember how to spell the word, I always thought, “Okay, so you walk a path that winds this way and that... how is that meditative? How does that help me as an individual relate to myself and others?” I decided I wanted to find out.

Jerry Becker set up a labyrinth walk on the day of the Winter Solstice. I asked fellow Sangha member and friend, Amy, if she would like to partake in this form of walking meditation with me. I could have gone by myself, but I have learned in situations as these that it is nice to have a fellow partner there to digest and process through experiences. Before the walk Jerry pointed out that there would be four lanterns painted different colors, strategically placed on each side of the circle: yellow for Joy, blue for Harmony, red for Peace, black for Healing. Then there’s Balance below. Wisdom above. Love in the middle, and, Compassion bringing it together. And so, the walk began.

Beginning and Ending in Pure Joy

We started at Joy, each of us holding a lantern that would provide us the needed light to carry on as evening began to close in. The most interesting thing happened. At first, I was a little stiff, as always, watching where I was walking, trying to remember the lantern points and their meaning. With each step I would say the word that went with whatever lantern I was walking toward. Then I would repeat what I just passed as I headed toward the next one. Eventually it became a rhythm in my head. One would not think that getting to each one would take as much time as it did, but there were some points between lanterns where there was just walking. So, you would look up and out and see people doing their own thing. As we entered the middle of Love, Jerry led us through many things, but what struck me the most was when he asked us to put our hands “on the back of each other’s hearts.” He followed with, “Giving your light to others does not diminish the light you have.” People I didn’t know very well putting support on the back of my heart was like CPR. I could feel the energy passing through from person to person almost to the point of elation. I was most touched. For, this is love. Making a little space, time, and connection with the simple touch of the hand to the heart made the experience come together for me. And, it only took a few breaths.

Where the walk in the beginning was a little more labored, the walk out was rejuvenating. You just let the path take you, for no matter what, you emerged at Joy. No thought. Just pure Joy knowing that all the gifts are there. Always. Including love. Whether we seek it or not, it’s bound to come around, eventually.

Labyrinth: A Contemplative Reflection

The following is my contemplative reflection of this experience, unedited. I wanted to see what came out of the journey for me:

And that’s the thing. It’s cyclical. The journey. My life. Your life. Our life. Slight curves. Tight turns within the labyrinth. Paths. Bounds. Connections among four coordinates: Joy. Harmony. Peace. Healing. Joy does not exist without harmony. Harmony does not exist without peace. Peace without healing. Healing without joy. As much as we think we are, we are not lost on the journey to finding these things. It’s all there. Always. It’ll come back around. Give it all time and space. It all leads to where it started. Trust the freedom in predestined steps. No need to think so hard. The path is there. No matter the way. We have direction. In our veins. All on our way. Compasses in the center of our chests of which we call the heart. Or, the boundlessness of the unconditional core of love. Let it lead from the center out. Wisdom from above to guide us. Balance below to support us. Compassion to hold it all together. Together. For as we wander on our own journeys, we are not alone. Even as we walk different paths. Doing our own thing. We meet in the middle of love. Together. Let your own light shine on the darkest days. For our lights will shine brighter. Together.

Passing the Light

And here is where I pass the light (and the blog) to Amy. Thank you for walking with me. It’s time to share your light with the rest of us. Namaste!

Heidi Nehring


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